Dog Tear Stains: How to Keep Your Dog’s Eyes Clean

Dog Tear Stains
Wyatt Robinson
Written by Wyatt Robinson

Tear staining is a condition that is mostly found in cats and dogs and is mainly caused by Epiphora. Epiphora is a technical term that is used commonly in the field of medicine to refer to a condition that leads to excessive tearing. In dogs, this condition is very common in certain breeds such as the Shih Tzu, Maltese, and the Lhasa Apso dog breeds and can also be easily detected in any other dog with a light coat.

Furthermore, the tearstains are usually reddish-brown in color and despite the fact that they can be a mere annoyance for some people. Tear stains can also be a good indication of a serious health problem or condition in dogs. Hence, some of the medical conditions that can lead to tear stains include:

  1. Infection of the eye
  2. Ingrown eyelashes
  3. Glaucoma
  4. Abnormally small tear duct openings
  5. Medications
  6. Ear infections
  7. Poor quality diet
  8. Teething in puppies
  9. Stress
  10. Brachycephalic syndrome

Epiphora or excessive tearing in dogs is usually as a result of porphyries, which are naturally occurring molecules that contain a high percentage of iron. The iron contained in porphyries are waste products that have been excreted by the body, after the breakdown of red blood cells. In most animals including dogs, the waste product iron is usually excreted through fecal matter but can also be eliminated through the eyes and mouth especially in cats and dogs. When tears and saliva that have a high percentage of porphyries end up on a dog’s fur coat staining will occur.

Tear stains are very visible especially after your dog has been outdoors or exposed to light. Upon coming into contact with light, tear stains usually darken in color hence becoming very visible.

Glaucoma in dogs eye

All in all, tear stains are usually rust colored and should not be confused with the brown stains that can be found below the eyes of some dogs. Unlike porphyries that result in red-brown stains, brown stains are usually produced by a dog that has the yeast infection.

Differentiating between the two stains is very important because it will assist you in providing the right type of treatment for your dog. Furthermore, another distinguishable feature of yeast infection is that it is odiferous. Hence, the infected dog will have an unusual smell on the face. All in all, it is very important to know, that dogs can have the two conditions at the same time, especially with the excessive tearing that often leads to the yeast infection.

How to safely treat tear stains

There are some things that you can do as a dog owner to ensure that your pets face is not only clean but also free from porphyrin containing moisture. As a dog owner, it is your duty to ensure that your pets face is wiped at least twice a day with a warm, soft and damp cloth. Cleaning your pet’s face on a daily basis is one of the effective techniques that you can use to treat tear stains. Also, you should always ensure that the dog’s facial hair is perfectly trimmed, and if possible you can always arrange regular arrangements with a groomer. For grooming tips and other information on how to clean your dog, see our previous post dealing with this.

Another technique that you can always employ is by replacing the dog’s daily meal with a high quality, species suitable, balanced meal. Apart from the high-quality meal, it is also very important that the dog is provided with clean, filtered drinking water instead of the usual tap water. Apart from containing several disease-causing agents, tap water has a very high nutrient content chlorine and fluorine. The presence of nutrients and disease causing agents in raw tap water is what makes it unfit for both human and animal consumption. Our piece on DIY dog food can help you prepare your dog’s own food which are safer and cost effective.

Tear stains

Another way that you can effectively use to prevent or treat tear stains is by replacing the plastic water and food bowls with either one that has been manufactured by using stainless steel, glass or porcelain. Plastic bowls that have been used for some duration of time can harbor bacteria that may in turn irritate your pet’s face. If you are looking for an ideal way to reduce the amount of staining significantly by using substances that can be found within your house. You can use either chlorophyll, dandelion, milk thistle or olive oil that are also very effective. For general tips on how to properly care for your dog, see our article on this topic.

For cleaning your pet’s face, it is highly advisable to use colloidal silver. Colloidal silver is very safe to use and can be used on a dogs face without any serious side effects. Depending on your preference, colloidal silver can be purchased as a spray or liquid drop in any pet store.

When using colloidal silver, start by applying it a little of the substance to a cotton ball, then use the cotton ball to wipe the dogs face gently. Due to the antimicrobial properties of colloidal silver, any demerits or opportunistic yeast infection do no stand a chance.

Treating tear stains

For dogs that are prone to matting or crushing under the eyes, you can use a suitable herbal wash of your choosing. The herbal wash will be used for cleaning beneath your dog’s eyes, especially after grooming. So as to prevent the skin from becoming irritated especially in the regions where tearstains are common, you can always use coconut oil.

Tear stain remover for dogs: top 5 tear stain removers

When it comes to tear stain removal substances, most dog owners not only look for products that are not only effective but also safe for their pets. But instead of consulting with their veterinary officers, dog owner’s end up purchasing products that have been marked as natural tear stain removers. Since most of the natural tear stain removers have not been properly grilled, some of them end up containing harmful substances upon analysis. One dangerous ingredient that is included in most of the tear stain removal substances is Tylosin+.

Widely used tear stain removal substances such as Angels Eyes and pet shark were all found to contain this substance. Furthermore, Tylosin+ has only been approved by the FDA to be used on other farm animals but not on cat and dogs. Since Tylosin+ is an antibiotic, it can lead to the gradual buildup of resistance in your dog or cat. If this gradual build up occurs, a dog’s ability to fight off diseases will be compromised hence the probability of the dog falling ill or sick will increase significantly.

Also, Tylosin+ can also lead to the development of various health related issues such as induced vomiting in cats and dogs, lethargy or even diarrhea.  Despite the fact that tear stains might be unsightly or unpleasing to look at, they are not worth putting your dog at risk. Hence, you should only use Tylosin+ after you have been given it as a prescription by your local veterinary officer. Furthermore, if your pet is allergic to any medication, you should make a point of avoiding any drug that has Tylosin+ as one of its ingredients. Our piece giving information on how to treat dog allergies will help you deal with any problems regarding your pooch.

Products for dogs eyes

But, all in all, if you are going to use any tear stain removal product that has Tylosin+, it is your duty as a pet owner to look out for behavioral changes in your pet. If you start noticing some behavioral changes in your dog after using the tear stain removal product that has Tylosin+, it is highly advisable to discontinue using the substance. Hence, here are five tear stain removal substances that every dog owner must know.


Apart from being cost-effective, Tearplex is the only tear stain removal product that combines all the active ingredients that are effective when it comes to tear stain removal. Furthermore, Tearplex is also among the few products that do not include the harmful substance Tylosin+ as an ingredient, which makes it safe for use on both cats and dogs. All the ingredients used to manufacture this product are all natural and balanced in a way that makes it the only reliable tear stain removal substance. Now, if you want to read more about this product or check prices and full list of ingredients, we recommend you visit their page at

Furthermore, Tearplex can be used on all dog, and cat breeds irrespective of the age, without causing any serious side effects or health issues. Needless to say, Tearplex is also the only substance that can stay in any dog’s bloodstream for a long duration, hence targeting future stains.

If you want to learn more from actual users, check price and reviews on Amazon.


With a close similarity to Tearplex, I-Clenz also contains natural ingredients and does not contain the harmful substance Tylosin+. By looking at the tearstain reviews on various websites, I-Clenz ranked a close second to Tearplex. Apart from being a tear stain removal agent, I-Clenz can also be used to improve a dog’s eyesight. Since the product comes in liquid form, it is highly advisable to dilute it first with water.

I Clenz

After diluting it with water, this product is not to be directly applied to the stained area but instead you can use a clean damp cloth or a damp cotton swab. Since the results can be seen almost immediately, continual use of the product for the recommended amount of time must be observed for much effective results.

Pet spark

Pet Spark is a highly powerful tear stain removal substance and usually comes in powder form. Since Pet Spark is marketed as a tear stain removal product, it mainly works by gradually stopping the formation of bacteria thus stopping the formation of tear stains. Also, the products manufacturing company explicitly states that the product cannot reduce affect or reduce the appearance of any existing stain. Pet Spark can be used on both dogs and cats through a comprehensive list of ingredients has not been fully provided by the manufacturer.

Also, most research companies were able to find the active ingredient, Tylosin+ in the product. Since Tylosin+ is not FDA approved, this product is not 100 percent safe. Unlike I-Clenz and Tearplex, Pet Spark does not employ the use of natural ingredients. But all the plus side, the product can be used for both cat and dogs of all ages.

Angel eyes

Despite being common among many dog owners, Angel Eyes has been banned in the United Kingdom because it uses Tylosin Titrate as the main ingredient. Furthermore, unlike all the other three stain removal substances discussed above, Angel Eyes is the most expensive, going at a retail price of above 50 USD. As discussed earlier, Tylosin Titrate is extremely harmful to cats and dogs, hence any pet owner who decides to give this product to the dog at his or her risk.

In the year 2008, Angel Eyes was labeled as an illegal substance by Veterinary Medicine Doctorate in the UK. Several seizures of this substances were made in the subsequent years because this product was illegally supplied to pet stores. In the United States, this substance is sold by some pet stores though it is illegal.

Angels eyes

For the majority of users who used this product, most of them reported that the product worked effectively but upon discovering that it contained Tylosin most of them stopped using the product. Currently, a new, all-natural alternative from the same company is now available on Amazon. The new Angel Eyes does not contain the active ingredient Tylosin Titrate. Hence, most users have complained about its effectiveness.

Like this product? Then you can check its price on Amazon.

Angel glows

Apart from containing the active ingredient Tylosin, Angel Glows also has numerous side effects on both cats and dogs. According to the manufacturer’s description, Angel Glows is an approved substance since 1961. But according to the stringent new regulations on the use of Tylosin by the FDA, Angel Glow is now an illegal substance. Also, this product has been listed by the manufacturer as being safe for young dogs and also dogs that might be pregnant.

All in all, all dog users who have used this product have all reported that in term of effectiveness, this product is efficient. Since this product contains Tylosin, all dog owners are advised to search for a suitable alternative that does not contain, Tylosin.

Product nameAbility to reduce tear stainsHas the ability to eliminate stains in the futureDoes not contain tylosinContains natural ingredientsSuitable for dogs of all ages
Pet SparkSuperiorSuperiorPoorPoorSuperior
Angels EyesPoorSuperiorPoorPoorSuperior
Angel GlowPoorSuperiorPoorPoorSuperior

The table above compares the top 5 tear stain removal products. Products that do not contain the harmful substance Tylosin are indicated as superior under the ‘Does Not Contain Tylosin’ column. Furthermore, its only two products that contain natural ingredients. From the table above we can see that Tearplex is the only substance that meets all the five requirements.

Home remedies for tear stains

Apart from the commercial products, there are also several home remedies for tear stains. Most of the home remedies can be used for prevention purposes rather than treatment. But, all in all, their effectiveness cannot be compared to that of commercial tear stains treatment.


For dog owners who are looking for a natural remedy that can be used in cleaning your dog’s tear stains than there are several herbs that can be effective. One such herb is Chamomile, which is widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties that can be efficient in fighting off fungi and bacteria. Another herb that can also be used is Calendula, which can cure wounds and also is effective against several fungi and bacteria species.

Eyebright for dogs

Eyebright or Euphrasia is also another herb that is used in the treatment of eye infections. Despite the fact that Euphrasia is usually administered as a tonic, it can also be used in the treatment of tear stains as an eyewash.

Corn flour & bleach

Corn flour is another known home treatment for tear stains. When combined with a few drops of very hot water and a drop of bleach corn flour can become an effective home remedy. When using this remedy, you should first allow the mixture to cool down to room temperature before you apply it. After applying the mixture to the affected area, you should allow it to work for at least an hour before wiping it away.

Also, you should ensure that this remedy or solution does not end up inside the dog’s eye because it can lead to irritation.

Furthermore, this treatment must be performed for at least three weeks so that the appearance of the stain can be reduced significantly.

White vinegar

White vinegar is a very effective home remedy for tear stains because it can prevent the formation of future tear stains. When using vinegar as a home remedy, you should first begin by cleaning the dog’s eyes, then start to add vinegar to the dog’s drinking water. Since vinegar contains acetic acid, it will change the PH level of your pet’s drinking water which will in turn change the PH of the pet’s tears.

White vinegar

The change in PH will play a key role in preventing the buildup of yeast. Yeast build up is one of the main reasons why there is usually a visible coloration in many dogs. Apart from the white vinegar, you can also feed your pet an antacid tablet twice a day.

Top ways to keep your pets eye clean

If you decide that home remedy is ideal for your dog, there are several things that you can use to prevent the formation of tear stains in the future. After applying the home remedy, you can use a blunt scissors to trim down the hair around the dog’s nose and eyes.

If you are not comfortable to execute t6his task on your own, you can alternatively ask your local veterinary officer to assist you. While bathing the dog, you should make a point of ensuring that the water or soap does not get into his or her eyes.

Alternatively you can choose to apply an ophthalmic ointment around the eyes of the pet before bathing him. If after using the home remedy for some time and the pet continues to display tear stains, then you should consider visiting your local veterinary officer.

About the author
Wyatt Robinson
Wyatt Robinson

Wyatt Robinson had a great 25-years career as a veterinarian in United Kingdom. He used to be a member of British Veterinary Association and worked in 3 pet hospitals in London and Manchester. He is shining when he sees his pets healthy and full of energy and it is his duty to help other dog owners to keep their best friends full of life.